Elephant Droppings

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Ismail Aa Rahaa Hai

I was reading the post about Samma-sored? by Mr Mediocre, and that reminded me of a similar incident that happened with my friend Vijay.

At the time I and Vijay were denizens of Delhi. Vijay used to work for Engineers India Ltd (at Bhikaiji Cama Place). We were new in Delhi, still uninitiated with the vagaries of Delhi Angrezi, and feeling more or less like fish out of Kerala backwaters. One day when Vijay was at work, suddenly there was some commotion and people were started hurrying towards the door. He asked one of the guys about what the matter is. The guy told him "Ismail aa rahaa hai, sab log baahar jaa rahe hain" [Ismail is coming, everybody is going out]. Vijay thought Ismail must be some bigshot in Delhi, and kept on working. After some time his manager came there and shouted at him, "What are you doing here? There is a fire on the upper floor and the building is being evacuated."

That was the moment he learned one important rule of the Delhi English -- when a word starts with 's' followed by a hard vowel, an 'i' should be prefixed while pronouncing the word -- "ischool", "istyle", "ismoke" etc. What he had assumed to be a Delhi bigshot was actually the ismell of ismoke coming from the vents!


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